Overcoming Social Phobia in Children

Social phobia is a complex mental health complication that affects millions of adults worldwide. Interestingly enough, many children often experience social phobia and most develop the complication in response to living in a dysfunctional home environment or when subjected to bullying at school. If you believe that your child is more than just a shy child and may, in fact, have a social phobia, it is important to seek out medical attention early so as to avoid long term health complications.

In children, social phobia is most often associated with a prior experience in which the child was embarrassed or made fun of when speaking out loud in public. For this reason, the child may have a fear, or anxiety, that sets in when asked to speak in public. If your child is fearful of speaking in public, and is not socially active, this is certainly a health complication you can address with a pediatric mental health specialist.

Mental health complications are easily resolved in children when the complication is associated with social phobia. To resolve the complication, you will need to find assistance from a mental health professional that not only specializes in social phobia treatment, but also specializes in treatment for children. In most cases, the social phobia will first be addressed by teaching your child basic relaxation techniques at which point your child will be given opportunities to engage in safe social settings so as to encourage more active verbal and physical interaction.

Beyond these mental health services, your pediatric specialist will also want to teach your child how to respond to criticism, bullying, and events that may leave them embarrassed. Because many children are not taught coping skills at a young age, these skills will be important so as to avoid relapse into social phobia, social anxiety, and phobia of public speaking.

Children experience a variety of health complications but may experience complications associated with phobias at a very young age when exposed to bullying or backlash in the home when attempting to speak up. If your child has developed a complication associated with phobia of social involvement, be sure to seek out mental health services early and when your child’s health seems to be associated with social involvement, especially with public speaking events.

Sources: Anxiety, Phobias, and Panic, by Reneau Peurifoy, pp. 79-82.